30 April 2012

Numbers on Tennis Balls

If you ever wondered what the numbers on a tennis ball 1/2/3/4/etc... stand for; it's only to help players in adjacent courts identify their respective balls.

Nothing more complex than that folks.

29 April 2012

First Week Box Office Collections & Social Mentions

Walt Disney is banking on analysis of Tweets and mentions across the social web, to forecast how much money The Avengers will make over the opening weekend. In fact, Fizziology, a company that analyses tweets, blog posts and other social network data to provide box office forecasts, projects $150 million for the opening weekend.

Yet, Twitter and other social networks can also turbocharge word of mouth to hurt a film's box office performance in the first week per this study from the Cass Business School, London. Academics from this B school analysed 4m film related tweets and concluded Twitter postings (or MWOM - Microblogging Word of Mouth) could sway the box office results of a film a night after it's release. The gist of the report: Sentiment spread through MWOM immediately after a movies release greatly influences other people's decisions to attend a screening during the opening weekend.

So while Walt Disney can plan for social mentions prior to the movie release - which can lead to favorable forecasts,  it looses control of MWOM once movies hit theaters - which is essential to keep the momentum for the opening week.

Paul Adams, one of the leading thinkers on the emerging social web,  believes, and I concur, "influentials are a myth." They are just another media channel, albeit serve an important role as taste makers before the movie release. Drumming up PR during the first week of movies release, to influence MWOM may not be as impactful before it's release. This is just in case, the forecasting company got it wrong.

Which bring me back to what William Goldman, author of a couple of  best selling books on the show business, famously once said of the movie business: "Nobody knows anything."
What he probably left unsaid : "Focus on the entertainment, experience and distribution. The participation, social mentions & results will follow."

IMHO this rings true for any launch, let alone the show business.

26 April 2012

The Google Privacy Debate

When Google announced it's new privacy policy on 1st March, it summarized  the changes succinctly in just 3 points:

  • Our Privacy Policy is now much easier to understand.
  • Our Privacy Policy will enable us to build a better, more intuitive user experience across Google for signed-in users.
  • Our privacy controls aren’t changing.

In addition, the new policy doesn’t change any existing privacy settings or how any personal information is shared outside of Google. 
"We aren’t collecting any new or additional information about users. We won’t be selling your personal data. And we will continue to employ industry-leading security to keep your information safe."

Yes Google does:
  1. Ask for your personal information when you sign up
  2. Gather information about your hardware and software when you use it's services
  3. And even information on your location, search history, call history, location, mode of access etc.. amongst others... to make your experience across it's properties more relevant and personalized.
And, if you think sharing this information will NOT improve your experience, use privacy control tools to do things like edit or turn off search or YouTube search history. Use another accounts for information about yourself you don't like mixed. Or browse incognito even via Chrome.

It's therefore surprising there's even a debate about the new privacy policy.

And for those who continue to view Google with suspicion, I have just 2 simple arguments:
  1. As with anything interactive, the user has to make the first move to engage. And has the choice to refrain from clicking on an ad or marketing message.
  2. Today, Google makes most of it's money from clicks. If it's privacy policies prevent people from engaging with ads across it's network, wouldn't it be putting itself out of business?
Lastly, Google again on how it's making ads safe, in addition to making them relevant and personal.

24 April 2012

YouTube turns 7.

Seems eons since it launched and may well be the future of video content,  YouTube was launched with this simple 19 second video featuring it's cofounder just 7 years ago:

Some staggering statistics, 7 years later:

  • 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute, or one hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second.
  • Over 4 billion videos are viewed a day
  • Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 3 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
  • More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years
  • 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • YouTube is localised in 39 countries and across 54 languages
  • In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views, or almost 140 views for every person on Earth

Updated stats across other metrics, including traffic, can be found here

Happy Birthday YouTube!